Married couples have the option to file jointly or separately on their federal income tax returns. Undoubtedly, married couples during tax season have asked each other if they are filing advantageously, whether currently filing jointly or separately. The IRS strongly encourages most couples to file joint tax returns by extending several tax breaks to those who file together. In the vast majority of cases, it’s best for married couples to file jointly, but there may be a few instances when it’s better to submit separate returns.
In June of 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held in U.S. v. Windsor that provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) were unconstitutional. Prior to this ruling, Section 3 of DOMA required that, for purposes of federal enactments, marriage be defined as the union of one man and one woman and the word spouse be defined as someone of the opposite-sex who is a husband or wife.